GMail and Sony hacked – passwords exposed

Internet Accounts are prime targets to be stolen or hi-jackedHow much trouble would you be in if your email password was stolen? You have probably heard already that Sony and GMail have been the target of attacks designed to break into accounts and steal passwords and other information.

In the incident with Sony as reported by Digital Trends, the hacker group reported on it’s website: “…every bit of data we took wasn’t encrypted. Sony stored over 1,000,000 passwords of its customers in plaintext, which means it’s just a matter of taking it.”

Google accounts were also targeted and The Daily Mail article shows an example of just how ‘real looking’ the fake GMail website was that tricked people into divulging their password.

I’d like you to think about how much you would be exposed if your email password was stolen? Would this mean a thief could only get your email account? Or would it mean that they now also had your banking password (because they are the same).

Please, Please use different passwords for you different accounts. It’s not that hard to manage different passwords or at least different groups of passwords. Have a look at my previous blog post on this for a refresher.

When you sign up for competitions or other clubs – never use a password that is the same as any of your important accounts – If you have to use the same password in some places then have one for all of the similar things like competitions or newsletters and add something to the start or end that is easy for you to remember for that website. For example I might use “F1mfF” as the first part of all my newsletter passwords and it is easy to remember but hard to guess because it is the first letter of “Fred is my favourite Flintstone” with the i changed to a 1. Then at the IBM website I might add BigBlue to the end. At the HP website I might add Print to the end: F1mfFBigBlue, F1mfFPrint etc.

If your password for your ‘high impact’ accounts like banking are the same as each other then I urge you to change them now! Don’t use the same one or even the same start as your newsletter and competition one. Pick a different phrase that is easy to remember for you but difficult for anyone else to guess – or use a password tool to help you out.

Remember to always be suspicious about emails that ask you to click on a link. Better to be safe than sorry. Read my previous blog on managing your passwords for some more hints. Now – off to change those passwords!

Here’s to staying safe online,

your ‘Peoples Geek